Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty: The CIA Years and Beyond

radio free europeA. Ross Johnson

Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty: The CIA Years and Beyond

Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty examines the first twenty years of the organization, policies, and impact of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, arguably one of the most important and successful policy instruments of the United States during the Cold War.

The book is based on extensive archival research both in the United States and in Germany, Poland, and Hungary, as well as on interviews and the author’s own experiences. It uses CIA materials, in part declassified at the request of the author, extensively. Johnson concentrates on the origins and role of RFE/RL in the context of U.S. national security strategy, with particular attention to the role of the Central Intelligence Agency in covertly organizing and funding RFE/RL from 1949 to 1971. And he details RFE activities during the most important East European crises of the era—Poland and Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968.

The study concludes with an analysis of the factors that accounted for RFE/RL’s effectiveness, which may offer lessons today as the United States tries to “win the hearts and minds” of foreign elites and populations and promote positive political change, particularly in the Muslim world.

A. Ross Johnson is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, adviser to the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Archive Project at the Hoover Institution, and senior scholar at the Wilson Center.

Cold War International History Project Series

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